Grandma’s Cruising

German start-ups are harnessing advances in e-mobility and gaming to help senior citizens stay sharp, keep moving and have fun.

April, 2017

After noticing a friend’s grandmother having trouble getting her groceries uphill, Max Keßler and two other entrepreneurs in Stuttgart designed a smart wheeled walker with an integrated electric motor.

Add-on features of the Ello Rollator (www.ello-info.de), now in small-scale production, are lighting for night journeys, an anti-theft device, a GPS locator, a removable battery and an automatic braking function to keep it from rolling away. While designed to assist with hills and curbs, it can also cruise at up to 5km/h, keeping Grandma on her toes.

© Ello Rollator

But if Grandma is looking for something with a bit more oomph, Hamburg-based Memore (www.memore.de) has launched a device that keeps seniors physically and mentally fit by enabling them to virtually ride a motorcycle, play table tennis or go bowling using medical video games. The MemoreBox can be attached to conventional TVs and uses Microsoft’s Kinect V2 sensors to create a gesture-based, hands-free interface.

Its therapeutic claims include training software that could “postpone the progress of cognitive decline” and physical therapy that can help avoid injuries “by improving balance and spatial awareness.” Working with several prestigious hospitals and research organizations in Germany, the team has tailored the device to the specific needs and abilities of older citizens. After proving a hit in one retirement home, one major German health insurance fund is considering rolling them out to twenty more.

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